Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of a Lost Age is a well-rounded turn-based Japanese RPG, which means it has a lot of conventions and mechanics common to the genre.
As our first tip below says, Dragon Quest XI is slow, so you'll have a lot of time to familiarize yourself with its concepts. With such a long game, however, it can be difficult to remember everything that happens and everything that can be done. This guide is here to help you. Our ten tips will help you orient yourself in the vast world of Erdrea and through the various mechanics of Dragon Quest XI.
The events of Dragon Quest XI unfold slowly. When you add exploration and some fighting with various monsters, you'll be playing for hours before you even reach your first party member (and close to ten hours before adding a third member).
You don't have to play like us, skip all monster fights and try to find every available corner to escape, but trying to keep the story going is also a long process. Don't rush the experience too much. Take a seat and enjoy the game at its own pace.
Exploration is always rewarded
As the game is slow, there is no rush, so we recommend exploring all areas of Erdrea that you can explore. You'll almost always find sparkling spots in every location (more on that below), but there's usually a lot more to discover.
Most of the areas are, to oversimplify, a corridor - you are there to go from point A to point B. But there are detours and dead ends. These will usually take you to a treasure chest with a valuable reward inside. Likewise, always look behind things. There is usually a treasure chest behind the main building in an area - this could be the only building in the wilderness or the home of the local leader in a city.
It is very challenging to explore at every turn, but the things you collect will help you on your long journey.
Don't fight every monster
The monsters in Dragon Quest XI respawn indefinitely, and that means you'll never run out of villains to grind for XP and the occasional item. But there is a time and a place for this.
The monsters that populate each area will be appropriate for your level when you get there. It won't take a lot of work to overcome this difficulty, though, and that means fighting every monster you encounter will quickly become a waste of time.
You will be able to see monsters as you traverse the otherworldly and you can always walk through them, so you are in control to engage in fights. Since you can avoid them, you can also choose when and which monsters to fight. If you've already leveled up in this area (or you've even made it to the next level), you can probably start skipping fights. This will make you progress through the story rather than exhausting yourself in each area.
Fight your way
Dragon Quest XI is a turn-based RPG. This means that every time a fight starts - either as a result of a cutscene in the main story or simply bumping into a monster in the overworld - the gameplay switches to a small arena. Once there, our team of heroes and the villains you are about to fight alternate with each other until one side of the fighters is victorious.
When you manage four team members, the turn-based combat mechanics mean that even the simplest combat can become a long (or time-consuming) endeavor. Navigating the menus to select "punch" over and over is probably not the best tactic. Fortunately, the game allows you to manage tactics of each party member.
Tactics allow you to decide how to behave during combat with our group as a whole or each individual party member. You can choose to decide every action each member takes, or set them all to fight automatically (with options to fine-tune the actions they prioritize). This allows you to fight the way you like.
If you want to choose every action each party member takes, you can. If you want to set it up to fight completely hands-free, this is also an option. If you want to check only the strongest hitters and set someone else to automatically cast only the healing spells, that works too.
The tactic Fight Wisely it's a good way to start playing. This is the hands-off approach. Your team will face enemies with a balanced blend of magic, skills and attacks. In fact, we used Fight Wisely for almost the entire game - including boss battles - and it worked well (and usually better than) when we took control of our party's actions.
Check the map constantly
You can also turn on the camera while looking at the map. It's easy to turn around in the Dragon Quest XI overworld. The “you are here” arrow on the map shows you which direction you are pointing, so by looking at the map and rotating the camera, you can be sure that you are in the right position.
More importantly though, you can recover each sparkling point in the area. These commercials are creating supply points where you will collect the things that will go into yours Forge of Fun.
There is a lot of information on the menus
Between 400 monsters, 200 weapons, 100 materials, 44 side missions, and pep's dozens of locations and powers, there is a ton of information to keep in mind as you play Dragon Quest XI. For the most part, you won't worry and you won't even have to think about all of these things, until you need a specific item or have to make a specific move.
The menu will give you many of the answers you are looking for (or the answers you have forgotten in the many hours of play). In the menu, Attributes allows you to see the current statistics of each party member. If selected, you will then be able to browse all their spells, abilities, abilities and, most importantly for those few side missions, their Powers Pep and the requirements to activate them.
The option Various of the menu is where you will find the rest of the useful information. The Traveller's Tips will allow you to revisit the basics of the game's controls and mechanics. Here you will also find the Catalog of missions to help you keep track of the commissions you have collected on your travels. Under Info , you will find some general information about the behind the scenes of your adventure like The Story So Far or a list of monsters you have fought and defeated, along with one list of objects.
Each option under the item list will allow you to filter what you want to look at - such as weapons, armor and materials. When you open this information, you will be able to find the statistics and general information about the universe for that element. More useful, however, are the Found and Deleted From lists. This will allow you to track down any specific object you are looking for, without having to go around Erdrea.
Let the game show you your next steps
This game is really great for guiding you by the hand (or by the nose, if you're more cynical). There are, however, some moments of pause. You may need to figure out where to go next, but no one in the group immediately offers suggestions. At these points, it is best to let the game play itself out.
Finish what you are doing and leave the area. Most of the time, someone will present you with a plan as soon as you leave.
Houses are the places where you will find some of the best loot in the game. Almost every house (which you can enter) in every city will have a chest or cupboards or shelves. You may get the occasional comment from nearby NPCs about hiring other people's material, but there are no negative consequences. This means that anything that isn't nailed down can become yours.
It takes a lot of time to get into every house in every city you visit, but just like with sparkling spots, your efforts will be rewarded.
Don't forget the shelves
Interacting libraries - those with a bright red book in the middle - will have two things. Some will have a lore book that fills something from the world or history of Dragon Quest XI, while others - arguably even more important - are cookbooks. These teach you how to create new things in your Fun-Size Forge. Often, you will find a cookbook just above the best equipment you can buy right now, which means that cookbooks result in equipment upgrades (especially early in the game).
Use the forge constantly
You will use the Forge a lot. The most obvious use is to create better gear for your party. As we mentioned above, the forge will give you access to better gear than you can purchase early in the game. But even after that, there's a reason to keep low-level articles out. Any item that forges well, ie items that turn out to be "brilliant" or "very good" when evaluated in the forge menu, will earn you Perfect Pearls. These pearls can be used at the Forge to improve the quality of an item. This works for the things you have created yourself and for the things that you have eaten in stores.
Later in the game, when what you buy in stores matches or surpasses what you can make, the forge will still be useful. In addition to getting Perfect Pearls to upgrade items you have already obtained (or bought), you can sell your creations, so you can afford to buy shiny new items.